Beyond the basics of 'listening well' and 'clear communication', there's a frontier in customer service that's buzzing with potential: AI. Ready to skip the standard advice and dive straight into the transformative power of artificial intelligence in reshaping customer experiences? Embark on this journey to supercharge your service like never before.
There are *a lot* of tips out there on how to improve your customer service.
But, let’s just say… they’re a bit basic:
Sure, by themselves these are important to great customer service. The problem is, they’re all things you likely already know.
If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you’re past the basic stuff. You want real, tangible tips that you can’t just find in every article already.
That’s where this guide comes in.
We’ll cover some tried-and-true principles for elevating your customer service throughout this guide, but let’s be honest:
AI is going to completely transform customer service forever. So, we’re going to go straight to the good stuff and start there.
How do you take full advantage of AI to supercharge your customer service, slashing time and costs while improving retention and satisfaction?
Read on to find out that and much more.
Customer support– and by extension, customer success– was bound to be one of the first areas to benefit from AI.
After all, many customer service tasks are monotonous and repetitive, with several opportunities ripe for automation.
But let’s look at some tangible ways to improve customer service with AI:
AI speech-to-text functionality is incredibly accurate compared to its software-based predecessors.
One incredibly useful application for this is by way of AI-generated customer support summaries.
AI can scan customer interactions– both speech-based and text– and automatically generate complete summaries, including:
All of this information is incredibly useful, especially the ability to auto-generate suggested steps for a resolution.
AI can now offer you a more complete view of your CS interactions as well as save you countless hours aggregating that data for you on a dime.
One of the most time-consuming aspects of CS is managing support tickets.
What if you could just automate the whole process, not only routing those tickets to the appropriate person but identifying the most optimal way to handle those tickets as well?
If this sounds too good to be true, it’s not. This is the world of AI, and it’s only getting smarter (and fast).
With a generative AI tool, you can automate the hand-off process from request to agent and much more.
No more managing a mess of support tickets all on your own. AI can now automatically organize queries based on topic and direct those tickets to the proper department or agent.
If your main issue is currently reducing the workload for your CS team so that they can focus more on high-value requests and tasks, this is one to look into.
So far, we’ve talked about how to make your entire CS process more efficient.
Now, let’s hone in just a bit and talk about how AI can help your agents more directly.
A CS agent’s ability to find the information they need when they need it is key to their success. However, this can be hard, particularly if you have a complex product or a large knowledge base that makes it difficult to locate the information they need quickly.
With AI, however, they can scan your knowledge base to automatically gather the relevant docs or other support material for that request.
If you’d like to take this a step further, you can even do what other brands have started and create set CS templates for specific support queries that your AI delivers to your agents.
As we touched on earlier, along with those templates they can even deliver suggested replies based on historical data as it learns what responses are optimal for said situation.
What if there was a way to analyze your customer’s language– not just words but sentiment, intent, and other cues– and learn from that data?
What if you could take that data and craft better templated responses for your CS team?
AI can do that.
Some AI tools can now analyze data and unearth useful conversational insights automatically.
While it may not be a direct time or money saver, it can have a significant impact on the quality of your customer service.
That’s because you can use these insights to craft better responses, better solutions, and with a higher rate of success and satisfaction.
Automation is now synonymous with AI, so we couldn’t finish this list without one last amazing AI automation tool.
Another use for AI in customer service is automating help-based emails with special triggers and prioritization.
For example, let’s say one of your most common support questions is how to upload a file directly to your platform as opposed to using one of your custom assets.
It’s something that users are constantly getting stuck on and you want to get out ahead of the issue to minimize the number of support requests related to it.
If a customer attempts to sign up for a new trial and lands on your custom design page, you could automatically deliver an email or even deliver an article via chat that walks them through the process.
In addition to this, you could also trigger an email to go out upon issuing a return request that walks them through that process as well. Or, at the very least, minimizes the amount of time that one of your agents needs to be on a call with that customer.
The applications for this are huge and they’re particularly powerful because they allow you to minimize support tickets and solve issues proactively.Respond to Customer Emails Automatically with Gleen AI Get Started Now
Next, let’s dive into some more general tips.
Below, you’ll find specific, actionable tips for improving your customer service. Chances are, there are at least a few points on this list you haven’t thought of yet.
Take a look:
You know that a bad customer experience can hurt your brand.
However, a bad response from your CS team after your customer reaches out about the issue can be the finishing blow to that customer’s relationship with your brand.
If you made a mistake with a customer on a CS call, or that customer simply had a bad experience with your brand that was your fault, don’t hesitate to admit that mistake.
Often, admitting that mistake will be a refreshing experience for that customer that helps not only fix the relationship but make it even stronger than it was before.
Just make sure to pair that response with doing whatever it takes to rectify it, whether that means a refund or something else. Not pairing that response with some sort of measure that rectifies the issue will completely negate any effort you made before that.
Nothing frustrates customers more than having to be transferred. Whether it’s on the phone or via chat or email, having to wait around for yet another person because the first rep couldn’t help them never feels great.
But when that transfer takes longer than it needs to because that CS rep doesn’t know who they should go to… that’s worse.
Create a clear escalation pathway so that your entire CS team knows who they should go to when they don’t know how to solve a problem on their own.
It’s easy from a business perspective to think of customer service as a sort of second thought– a less-important task compared to those of marketing, sales, and development.
However, given how vital customer success is to your customer’s perception of your brand, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
With that said, a step you can take to start transforming how you and your team view customer service to remedy that is by including customer service in the customer journey.
Don’t think of customer service as a side story or something optional, think of it as an integral piece of that customer’s story– the ultimate weapon they uncover in their moment of need that allows them to continue unimpeded.
That might sound a little over-the-top, but great customer service can save a customer from falling off mid-journey with your brand.
See how those touchpoints align with your CS team and you’ll instantly elevate the importance of customer success across your entire company.
Having a convenient way to gather customer feedback and study it is essential, but there’s something else you can do with it that you may have thought of yet.
Taking that feedback and sharing it with your team can be a hugely beneficial practice. It allows your CS team to not only be recognized when they deliver exceptional service but also to see what your customers are saying in general.
There’s no better way to learn how to improve than by studying your performance, and the ultimate marker of performance in customer service is the responses from your customers.
This works great because it can then become a regular part of your employee recognition process, hitting two birds with one stone.
The only point on this list that rides dangerously close to old and tired advice, this one is a mainstay that you ignore at your peril.
Think about the typical customer service experience from your perspective: do you want to feel like everything and everyone is giving you generic responses, or like they’re listening to you and your needs and responding accordingly?
Fortunately, there are lots of concrete ways you can begin to implement this, some you may not already be doing:
One of the best ways to improve something is to set a goal that pushes progress further, and customer service is no exception.
Setting clear and measurable objectives focused around improving your customer service is one of the best ways to make that very thing a reality.
After all, without a clear objective, there’s very little chance you’re going to make any improvement.
Examples of personal and team-wide objectives could be:
There are lots of objectives you can set, however. These are just a few of the most important high-level ones that can make a substantial impact on the quality of your customer service.
Another vital step if you want to improve your CS team’s performance is setting up and tracking the right metrics.
Examples of high-importance KPIs you should track include:
Additional KPIs might include:
With tracking in place for these and other KPIs of your choosing, you’ll have clear signals that will inform you whether what you’re doing is working or not.
Closed-loop feedback refers to the act of implementing feedback from customers and then following up with those customers to notify them of the changes you made in response.
A closed-loop feedback system can be difficult to maintain at scale, but in the beginning this can be a great way to build brand loyalty with early customers while also receiving invaluable feedback for making your process more efficient and your overall business more successful.
It’s easy to become myopically focused on just one or two support channels and excel there, while neglecting others.
Not every customer will use your support site, they may use:
However, if your support experience across channels is inconsistent it can lead to unhappy customers.
In addition to this, a common complaint among customers of many business types– especially SaaS– is that it’s generally easier to find an answer to their question by doing a quick Google search.
This often occurs when you make it inconvenient to get a hold of a person live via support.
Help docs are great and can drastically help reduce the number of requests your team has to take.
However, when you make getting a hold of a real human being more difficult just for efficiency’s sake, you can end up turning off your customers in a big way.
You should not only offer a high-quality support experience, but a great support experience across all channels.
Online reviews typically offer useful insights you can uncover that tell you how customers view your brand.
But more to the point, responding to feedback is another and entirely different opportunity.
According to a study conducted by ReviewTrackers, 78% of consumers believe that receiving a response from management about a review they wrote makes them feel that the business cares more about them.
It’s easy to respond to positive feedback. Plus, as a customer, it feels great when a company rep responds to your feedback with appreciation.
However, with that, you’re only getting one piece of the puzzle. You also need to respond to and acknowledge negative feedback.
Just as with every CS interaction, how you respond to negative feedback determines if you lose that customer permanently or if you get them back and make them a fan of your brand all over again.
The right kind of response has the power to bring disgruntled customers back to your brand and change how they see you, so don’t overlook the power of responding to both positive and negative feedback.
Just starting out in your customer service journey and want to grow your CSM team right?
Below, you’ll find answers to some key foundational questions on customer service to help you get a better hang of the basics.
A single customer service experience can completely change the way a person sees your brand– for better or worse.
A great customer service experience can leave your customer feeling delighted and, sometimes– if you really killed it– can even turn a customer into a true fan of your brand.
A bad customer service experience, on the other hand, can leave your customer feeling unappreciated and unwanted. That can mean everything from that customer simply being less excited about your brand moving forward or, in the worst case, switching to a competitor.
Great customer service comes down to a few foundational principles.
Everything else is based upon these principles, and learning these will help provide a kind of “North Star” for your customer success efforts.
Those principles are:
At the end of the day, customer service is all about one person– your customer– reaching out to have a conversation with another person– your CS rep.
This interaction should feel personalized to what your customer needs and they should feel as though the rep they speak with really took their needs and concerns into consideration when handling their issue.
Don’t let your customers feel like just another lump of money running through a great big machine. Make sure they leave that interaction feeling like you truly value them as a customer.
A simple but often-overlooked aspect of customer service, the speed at which you respond to support requests the better.
Do you provide your CS agents with the tools they need to serve your customers properly? For example, a conveniently accessed knowledge base with solutions to all typical questions.
Nowadays, customers can reach out on a variety of platforms and in different ways, whether that be chat via your website, a support request via your support site, email, or even social media.
Customers should feel like they’re receiving a consistently high-quality experience no matter what channel they use.
The ‘4 P’s’ of customer service aren’t a known rule, but rather a term that has been attributed to several different collections of principles.
Some have referred to the 4 P’s as promptness, politeness, professionalism, and personalization.
Still others have referred to them as people, purpose, process, and platform in the context of customer success.
While all of these are important and worth noting, there is no universal rule. Instead, find the principles that you find most vital to creating a truly delightful customer service experience and elevate those as far as they’ll go.
A lot goes into creating an incredible customer service experience.
Internally, there’s the way you structure your teams, process, knowledge, and the principles that you encourage.
Externally, there’s the way your company and customer service team communicate with your customers on every level.
Fortunately, with the development of new and incredible applications for AI, this has all become far easier.
With a tool like Gleen AI, you can improve your customer service team’s efficiency on multiple levels:
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